GIS/GPS – site conflict?

How do I figure out if my proposed research site is in conflict with other research or facilities?

If you are a NEW researcher at RMBL or if you are a current researcher that would like to expand to a new research site area, you must collect initial coordinate(s) for the proposed site and compare them to current research and facilities to make sure that there are no conflicts.

You can collect initial coordinates by using a personal GPS unit or you can use RMBL’s GeoXT GPS units.

If you collected the initial coordinates with RMBL’s GeoXT:

1) You should have been e-mailed a shapefile (.shp, .shx, .dbf) with your points/lines/polygons of the proposed

2)In the Barclay classroom, open ArcMap software. You’ll need to create a base layer with aerial photos, the current research sites, and the current facilities.

Click on the plus (+) symbol in the toolbar and navigate to Database Connections

Double click on GISdatasets.sde (if this is not present, move to a different computer)

Select the following files: any or all of the RMBL.DBO.MRK aerials, RMBL_SITE_researchsites14, and RMBL_SITE_infrastructure07.

Use the ‘i’ (information) tool to get information about any of the polygons in the research site or facilities file. In the ‘identify results’ dialog box, clicking on the link next to the metadata will bring up the form that is associated with that polgyon, including contact info for the researcher and if their site can be shared.

3)Now that you’ve created the base layer, you can add in your points/lines/polygons representing your proposed sites.

You should’ve downloaded the shapefile off your e-mail and saved it to the hard drive of the computer where you’re working.

Click on the Add button (+), navigate to where you saved the shapefile, highlight it, and add it in to your project. It should overlay with the aerial photos and other datasets. If it does not or you need additional help overlaying your data, contact the GIS Coordinator at

At this point, you should be able to see whether or not your proposed site is in conflict with any research or facilities. If it is in conflict with other research sites and/or facilities, please contact the Science Director at to discuss the conflict and what your possible options are.  If it is NOT in conflict with anything, please still contact the science director to let him/her know that you have found a site and the site has no conflict with other sites or facilities, and then follow RMBL GPS procedure to get the site officially mapped. If you collected coordinates with a personal GPS unit or if you have coordinates written down:

1) If you have hand written coordinates (lat/long or UTM), they will need to be typed into and saved in Microsoft Excel 2003 – 2007 version (.xls) and then converted into a shapefile. Please contact the GIS Coordinator at for help with importing your excel data into ArcMap.

2) Now that you have your written coordinates converted into a shapefile, go to Step 2 above and proceed.